1: Accept you need to fulfill your mind’s potential.
Look at the graph below. Where on the graph would you mark yourself if the far left represented the ignorance of a newborn baby and the far right represented the genius of Leonardo Da Vince?
(Ignorance) 1—2—3—4— (Normal) —6—7—8—9—10 (Genius)
Okay, that was a trick. Without changing your position on the graph, replace the word “Ignorance” with “Insanity,” and replace the word “Genius” with “Sane.”
The definition of the word “sane” is: “having or showing reason, sound judgment, or good sense.”
Think about a baby. Does a baby think or act with sound reason, judgment, and sense? No. If an adult acted like a one-year-old, he’d be locked away in a mental institute. We’re all born insane, and our progress towards sanity doesn’t happen on its own. As we grow up, our brains develop and automatically make us more capable of sanity, but in to grow to your full potential you have to proactively use reason, sound judgment, and common sense.
Genius isn’t a condition you’re born with. It’s the process of pushing your mind to its unique potential. Once you’ve pushed your mind to what it’s capable of, you’ll be the person you’re capable of becoming.
2: Accept you’re capable of becoming a genius.
If you’re smart enough to graduate high school, then you’re smart enough to become a genius. How many song lyrics, movie characters, book titles, sports statistics, telephone numbers and street names will you memorize in your life? How many books/magazines/news articles/websites/blogs have you/will you read? When you add it all up, the number is astronomical even if you score low on a traditional I.Q. test.
You’ll never reach the limits of your mind. Therefore, the limits of your mental potential are defined more by what you believe they are than what they actually are. You have the potential to become an expert at just about anything if you would only allow yourself permission to become what you’re capable of becoming and push yourself as far as you can go.
3: Accept you’re ignorant.
Everyone is born insane, and we become saner by learning. But no matter how much you learn, you’ll always be an ant on a speck of dirt in an endless universe. Nobody knows shit about shit, and we’re all so lost we don’t even know how lost we are. So conceit is a delusion, and humility is sanity. The smarter you think you are, the less room and motivation you give yourself to grow. The more humbly you accept your ignorance, the more room and motivation you give yourself to grow.
4: Accept everyone is ignorant in different ways to different degrees.
Humanity doesn’t have life figured out. Our entire history has been a slow process of clueless adults raising clueless children. The younger generation always takes it for granted their parents’ generation has it all figured out. So children devote their lives to mimicking their elders only to waste their lives re-enacting primitive, obsolete customs invented by pompous monkeys.
Take everything you learn with a grain of salt. Even if someone teaches you something true, it’s probably still incomplete. Questioning people and their belief systems can only help you arrive at a clearer perception of the truth. Blind faith can only result in blindness.
5: Decide what you want to learn.
Nobody can know everything. The end goal of genius isn’t to master every field of learning but to master the one/s that are most important to you. The only way you’ll have the motivation to master anything, is to love doing it. Find something you love, and excel at that. If you try to master something you aren’t terminally passionate about, you’re either going to quit or be miserable, which would defeat the purpose.
6: Develop a systematic plan to understand life.
Imagine it’s Sunday afternoon, and you don’t have to go to work, but you’ve got a ton of errands and chores you need to get done. If you just wander around the house and do a chore here and there when you just happen to find yourself in a room that needs something done it’s going to take forever to get all your chores done. Imagine driving around town aimlessly and hoping you run across the store or business you need to get something done at. You’ll never accomplish all your goals.
Becoming a genius (aka growing up, aka becoming sane) is the same way. You’re not going to be able to wander through life aimlessly, casually doing the things you feel inspired or hungry to do and hope to make the most out of your mind. You need to plan out what you want to learn and how you’re going to teach it to yourself.
7: Learn as much as you can.
If you want to be smarter, then learn more. If you want to be exceptionally smart, then learn an exceptional amount of information. You’re going to run out of time before you run out of storage space in your brain.
8: Learn and practice rational, logical thinking.
To understand the information you learn and make the best use of it, you have to be able to process the information effectively. You can memorize the encyclopedia, but if you don’t know how to think, all your good for is reciting information. The better you are at thinking, the more valuable conclusions you can draw from your knowledge.
9: Ask the right questions.
You might be able to cram enough knowledge into your brain to win every quiz game in the world, but that doesn’t make you a genius. What separates the savants from the geniuses is meaning. Is the knowledge you possess and are the questions you ask meaningful? Do your intellectual pursuits make a difference in the world? Do they help people? Do they advance humanity? If not, then it doesn’t matter how many credentials you have or how many people pat you on the back. Your efforts are meaningless.
You don’t have to be smart enough to figure out why E=MC2 to be a genius. The world doesn’t need 7 billion astrophysicists anyway. We need geniuses from every walk of life. We need people who can solve meaningful problems in the fields that they’re suited for. Solve a meaningful question and that will be an exercise in genius, but that doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels for the rest of your life. Just because you did something genius yesterday doesn’t mean you’re a genius today. And just because you performed one stroke of genius doesn’t mean that you’re a genius in every other facet of your life. In fact, nobody is a full spectrum genius. Every genius is a complete idiot in other ways.
10: Question your answers.
Let’s suppose you questioned your personal beliefs and the foundations of your culture and found them lacking. So you went back and rewrote the rules and applauded yourself for fixing them. Then you lived the rest of your life by those new rules and taught them to other people. The only problem is you’re Anton Lavey, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Timothy Leary or Charles Manson. If you don’t question everything, especially your own answers, you’ll end up acting on irrational conclusions that will cause harm to you or others.
Question your answers.
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- 10 steps to winning an argument
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- The value of knowledge
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The Meaning of Life
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- My quest to find the meaning of life
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